Three Secrets of the NY Art Museum World that Might Shock You

Metropolitan art museum

We’ve all been to art museums before. What you might not realize is that, behind these iconic buildings are secrets and intriguing stories the majority of the public are never privy to. We all know the MoMA is one of the most influential contemporary museums in the world, but what lays beneath the paint and bizarre video montages? Here are three surprising facts about museums in NY that you never knew.

1. Dead Eagles at the Museum of Modern Art

One piece being displayed in the MoMA, “Canyon” by Robert Rauschenberg, has a very interesting history. The multi media painting, created in 1959, created a host of legal problems for its past owners, who received it as inheritance. They were not allowed to sell it, since it incorporated the taxidermied body of a real eagle. The IRS, though, said the art was worth $65 million, so they wanted $29 million in taxes. The Feds let them off the hook so long as they agreed to give it to a public museum, which is how it ended up at the modern art museum.

2. Murder at the MET Museum

For many years, a copper statue known as Diana, created by Augustus Saint Gaudens, has been a part of the Metropolitan Art Museum. According to a 1981 film, this version of the statue, for there were several, was modeled after a prominent citizen, Harry Thaw’s, wife. Thaw demands of White, who had commissioned the statue, that the statue be removed, finding it embarrassing. He then shoots White dead. Is this story real? Not likely. The statue, in reality, was put up when Thaw’s wife was only 9 years old, and had not yet been introduced to White.

3. Surprising Controversy with the Guggenheim

In 2009, both the Guggenheim and MoMA Museums got in trouble with a district judge, who expressed publicly his disbelief over paintings that had been at the center of conversations within the Holocaust restitution community. As many know, the Holocaust was a time when many Jewish people in Europe were murdered. During this time, many people who had owned artwork were forced to give them up to the Nazis. Two such pieces, now worth millions of dollars, ended up at the Guggenheim and the MoMA. The relatives of the original owner, Schoeps, contacted the museums and demanded them back. Eventually, a settlement was released between the two groups.

Have you been to these museums in NY?

Cool Artwork

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July 2024